Austin & Hanna courageously share their true story of how bringing our struggles into the light not only opens the door for God to move, it transforms us into a new creation. Watch their courageous testimony of God’s ability to redeem, restore, and create a new path replacing shame with peace, and sorrow with joy. Bravery at its’ finest.
It’s a new year…time for new goals right? New Year’s Resolutions. My husband and I were traveling for the holidays and having our “car-talk-time” – one of my favs because we’re trapped in the car for several hours with no work distractions, no laundry, no dishes, no errands, nothing to do but just sit…and talk. He can’t escape all my questions! 😉 We have the best conversations in these moments.
On this last trip, we talked about all the goals we hope to accomplish in 2017. Lose weight, strengthen our marriage, make some financial changes, finish the remodeling in our house, become fluent in Spanish so that I can hang with his family in conversation, run a 1/2 marathon, write more, read more, dream more…and the list continued. After talking we had too many goals to count and an overwhelming feeling came over me. I thought maybe this is why I didn’t reach my goals last year…maybe it’s because it’s all too overwhelming and I just want to quit.
OR…maybe because they’re MY goals and MY ideas of what will bring me the best year ever. Usually MY ideas lead me into living off my own strength and power, which leaves me burned out and tired. It sparks a question in me and for all of us…What if our new year’s resolutions consisted of JUST ONE RESOLUTION and the resolution isn’t about us, but about Him?
THE ONE RESOLUTION – Give God our First and Best one day at a time…Simply focus on what God might want from us in that ONE DAY…EACH DAY. It’s not a new concept. It’s just rarely done. But I’m already starting to relax just thinking about it. We often get too caught up in our own agendas to do this but I would say it’s the most important thing we could ever do for ourselves.
What if by starting our day and spending time with Him we discover His best for our year…we find direction and guidance? What if out of that time came our purpose? What if doing that each day brought forth more peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, and more discipline? What if as we cultivated our relationship with God first, we became wiser, more secure, and more confident in everything we do because our trust has grown so much in HIS plan?
God’s word tells us those are all results of being led by the spirit.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” -Galations 5:22.
If those sweet gifts are a result of pursuing God first, then won’t those things help us tremendously in accomplishing our own goals that we had originally planned? Or maybe, just maybe…they’ll help us accomplish the new goals God’s given us that are different and greater than we could have ever planned for ourselves. Either way, just experiencing God’s fruit in and of itself is already a successful year in my book.
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” -Matthew 22:37
In order to love Him we musk seek Him and get to know Him. He already loves you and me and is there just waiting for us to say yes to Him. In fact, he loved US FIRST!
Will you join me this new year in giving God your first and your best? Just one day at a time. He may do more than you could ever ask or imagine.
“Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” -Ephesians 3:20
I haven’t talked to one person yet who has regretted putting God first in his/her life. But I’ve talked to countless people who have regretted NOT putting God first. It’s a personal relationship with Him that will not only change your year, but it will change you and the world around you.
This is your year to start over, putting Him first in your life. Are you willing to give Him a chance to take the reigns…just one day at a time? Let’s focus together on that ONE RESOLUTION because it’s THE. ONE. that will affect everything else.
Will you join me TODAY in prayer…”Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new year and all that you will do in my life as I am giving YOU my First and Best, & letting you take care of what’s best for me. Show me YOUR WILL TODAY. My life is yours. Open my ears and my eyes so that I can hear you and see you. Guide me and strengthen me in following your will TODAY. Amen”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”- Matthew 6:33
Wishing you all a fruitful year filled with God’s blessings,
God’s calling. How many of us have heard it clearly, know exactly what we are being beckoned to do, but still stand paralyzed in the thick, immobilizing quicksand of self-doubt and uncertainty? God’s calling can feel like a giant that we are compelled to and captivated by, yet at the same time, utterly terrified to approach.
If only we had the confidence David had when he approached Goliath. Though small and ill-equipped for victory according to the world’s opinion, David didn’t falter. His feet walked towards the impending battle with confidence. His hands skillfully placed the stone in the sling, and with unfaltering confidence in what God had called him to do, he carried out the task and conquered the giant.
David was small but bold. He was human but empowered by the One True God. An unworthy man was called, and his obedience made all the difference.
He didn’t question his ability to succeed based on his physical stature, vocation, or social status. He didn’t listen to the discouraging voices around him that said he wasn’t good enough for such a battle. Nor did he accept the help of what the world told him he would need in order to have any hope of succeeding. When they said he’d need heavy armor to survive, David chose instead to go only equipped with the talent and skill God had created him to be specifically confident in: his shepherd’s staff and sling.
David was just a shepherd who said yes to God. And because he did, his story was written down in history as one to inspire believers such as ourselves that through God, all things are possible.
What if David had disqualified himself from God’s calling on his life because he was “only a shepherd?”
What are you being called to do that you feel utterly unworthy to carry out?
What child might never experience a loving home if you never listen to that still, small voice calling you to foster or adopt? What co-worker might never hear of the saving love of Jesus if you never accept that job in the field you feel called to even though it won’t pay enough for you to keep living with the same level of materialistic comfort? Who will never know they’re worthy if you never tell them? Who will fall between the cracks of society if you never step out of your comfort zone to reach them?
Time is short and precious, and the stakes are high. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”
The time is now. Step out and go boldly towards God’s calling on your life. Not because you are able, but because He is.
When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend hours recording our favorite Disney shows to a blank VHS tape, then hooking a second VCR to the first one and recording what we called “over and over” repetitive clips of our favorite lines from the show.
We would also spend hours choreographing, styling, and filming ourselves lip syncing to our favorite songs. We wrote and filmed our own short films. We. Filmed. Everything.
Even as an adult, I couldn’t stop with the videos. I discovered the Vine app and challenged myself to come up with funny 6-second creations.
God put particular care and detail into each and every one of us. He instilled within us unique interests, passions, and desires. Because of that, we enjoy different hobbies. I believe that the things we are drawn to are not there by accident. Their purpose is for us to be able to find ways to serve Him that bring us joy and fulfillment.
Today, I channel my love for videography by filming and editing videos for my church. By no means do I consider myself a professional, and I still have a lot to learn. But my passion for it fuels my desire to become more knowledgable, and with knowledge comes better material.
This quote greatly inspires me: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Why is it so easy for us to tell little ones to dream big, yet we ourselves settle for filling our days with the mundane, required tasks of adulthood?
What do you dream of when you can’t sleep at night? And what holds you back from chasing those dreams?
Do you dream of entertaining but immediately count yourself out because your house doesn’t look like Joanna Gaines’, it’s really small, or you can’t afford expensive dishes? (Preaching to the choir, here…) Make the best of what you have. If your table only seats four, invite three women over once a month for intentional conversation. (IF:Table conversation cards are a great place to start.) Scour thrift stores and yard sales to find mismatched dishes that reflect your style. Pick wildflowers from the side of the road and put them in a mason jar. Then brew some coffee, make a pie (or thaw a frozen Edwards pie–they’re delicious), and invite your friends over.
Maybe you dream of owning your own shop, but you can’t afford the start-up. Create a Facebook page, invite your friends to join, then post cute pictures of your handmade or repurposed items. You might be surprised how quickly word spreads about your creations.
Blog. Write a book. Sign up for that course. Start an exercise group out of your home. Pour into others over coffee. Turn trash into treasure, then sell it. Mentor. Feed the hungry. Take pictures. Adopt. Lead a Bible study. Bake. Build furniture. Train for a long run. Explore.
Do that thing your soul was made to love.
That passion you have is not there by accident. It is God-given, and you’ll never find yourself in a sweeter spot than when you are living fully in the midst of His plan for you.
Chase after your passions. Dream big, You.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
I opened my dishwasher on a Friday afternoon and my eyes filled with tears. But not for the usual reasons. Not because it melted yet another one of my son’s favorite sippy cups. Not because I was so weary of housework that I barely had enough energy to unload it. Not because I’m a wife and mother of two small children, which meant the burden of most of the household responsibilities fell on me and I was feeling sorry for myself again.
Not this time.
No, this time things were different. This time, my tears were tears of joy…and thanksgiving.
I was emotional over a full dishwasher because it meant things had finally changed. We had one more person at the dinner table where there once was an excruciating void.
My husband had come home.
Just four months earlier, my husband of 14 happy years walked out. I was left alone and confused and betrayed. I was served divorce papers. I was left to care for our children on my own. My heart was shattered. I had been told I wasn’t loved by the one person I loved the most. I had been rejected and abandoned.
But not by my Jesus.
He held my hand and my heart. He whispered promises into my very soul. He sent his people to care for me, encourage me, and pray for me. He comforted my children. He provided our every need. He spoke life and truth to me daily through his word. He told me not to give up.
My husband came back…in fact, he came home with a new light in his eyes and a fire in his spirit.
Jesus had been working in him just as he had been working in me.
God rescued him and made him a new creation. What I heard God whisper as I fell on my face before Him so many times was true. All things are possible through Christ who gives me strength.
It took a battle like that to open my eyes.
I have a different perspective today. God has placed His divine, unconditional love in my heart. He has restored and renewed my marriage and my family. It took the worst experience of my life to change my perspective.
I know now…
A full dishwasher means there have been meals shared on actual plates with conversations and warmth and a sense of family. It means we are blessed with food to eat and more importantly, people to share it with.
Serving my family and loving them as imperfect as they are is a joy, not a burden.
Laundry overflowing means I have a house full of people to love. People who play hard and experience much and have the wrinkles and stains to prove it.
A mess of toys all over my living room floor means I am blessed with children who won’t be children for long, but who find joy and happiness and laughter in my home.
A husband who keeps me awake with his snoring means I share my bed and my heart with someone who has chosen to be there. Someone who continues to choose to be there, no matter how much work it takes to be able to crawl into that bed night after night.
Wives. Mothers. Women. I know many of you today are battling in the trenches facing difficulties in your marriage or with your children, dealing with the busyness of life, the stresses, the fatigue, the worry. I encourage you today…Don’t Give Up! Pray for your family. Fight for them. And…
Strive for a heart like Jesus.
Strive to see and love your family and others the way He sees and loves you.
“God can raise marriages from the dead and He can restore life and purpose to those who have given up. He can forgive and purify the vilest sinner. God’s specialty is raising dead things to life and making impossible things possible. You don’t have a need that exceeds His power.” – Beth Moore
No matter what you are battling today, never give up. Let Him fight for you. He will reward you for your faithfulness because you are His child.
“Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I’ve never been buried alive, but I’ve seen enough horror movies to vividly picture myself in that position. And I’ve experienced enough challenging times to know firsthand how life becomes survival when you feel buried.
If that’s you today – if you feel like a member of the walking dead – this is for you.
Maybe a fresh perspective is what God wants to give you today. It’s easy to look at the soil and the mud around you and see yourself as buried. But what if you aren’t buried at all?
What if you’ve been planted?
Picture yourself as a seed. Seeds are covered with the same soil as what’s been buried. They feel the same crushing weight of the world pressing in. But seeds do something that dead things can’t do: they grow.
The sun warms the earth and supplies the seed with nutrients. The rains come and quench the seed, reviving and restoring. The Word of God pours nourishment into your soul. Your friends and loved ones – those who know you best and care about you most – speak into your heart. Sometimes their words fall like gentle showers and other times they crash their way in like a thunderstorm.
If you’re the seed, you must soak up as much sun and rain as you can!
He pursues you in your darkest days.
If you’ve been there, you know how much you needed friends to speak truth and love into your season of pain. So now it’s your turn…who needs your sun and rain today?
When seeds receive enough sunlight and hydration, something amazing begins to happen. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, roots start to peek out. They begin to branch off and multiply, solidly anchoring the seed.
Truth takes root in the darkness of our struggle.
When I look back at my life and I remember those times I felt buried alive, I’m reminded of the big truths that God placed in the core of my being even in the midst of my despair. Truths that I would have missed otherwise. Truths like:
I am complete in Christ.
My Heavenly Father is full of GRACE and mercy.
God is faithful.
My enemies are not people. My enemy is Satan.
We need roots. Roots provide stability and security. That battle you’re in? The one that seems never-ending? I promise you, God is at work, planting, pulling weeds, feeding your soul. Roots will grow if you allow His truth to permeate and settle.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6-7
You know what’s coming next if you remember anything about third grade science class. Once a seed is rooted and grounded, there’s really nowhere to go but up. It’s the way God orchestrated life. Spring comes, the frozen harshness of winter melts away, and new life breaks through the surface!
For some of you this will be a gradual blooming, slow and steady as you unfold and blossom. Beautiful to watch.
For others, it’s more of a desperate clawing your way through the dirt. Think Stephen King’s movie, Carrie. Final scene. Raw and scary.
Either way, you’re going to get there! Finally, you will experience fresh air, blue skies, and warm breezes. You’re going to be resurrected. If you feel buried, God wants to bring you back from the dead. If you are His, He loves you too much to let you stay underground forever.
There is purpose in your pain. God might be allowing you to experience a season of depression, betrayal, sorrow, or loss because He wants you to know the power of His resurrection in your own life.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:8-11
The end goal is Christ, in other words. When you break through the surface of what’s keeping you buried, you are raised to walk in a new, deeper, closer way with Jesus. You begin to bear fruit. You tell others of what God has done for you. You love Him more. You love people better.
Wherever you’re at in this cycle, believe that the next phase is coming. And this IS a cycle – you may not be in the depths of darkness right now, but you probably know someone who is. And the day is coming when you may begin to feel the dirt piling up and the light dissipating yet again. This is life. But if you choose to see your position as a seed that’s been planted rather than a dead thing that’s buried, the way you walk through it will begin to change. Trust in Jesus. Cling to Him. Allow the ones who love you to bless you. Keep your eyes open to someone who might need the Truth.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:3
How can I pray for you in your season of darkness? Let’s be that gentle rain for each other today!!
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
You have a story.
Your story has a beginning, middle, and end.
We all have a story written by the same author – who knows the sweet and explicit details scribed on every page.
The story I’m referring to includes our names, our hearts, our successes and our failures.
As hard as it is to imagine, God knows what happens in the next chapter. He knows when or if our stories collide, because He can see the big picture. God is sovereign.
While some chapters are easy to read, pain is written into the fabric of the pages, which makes certain chapters hard to get through.
He understands it all – on the cross He felt it all – pain, humiliation, scorn, and shame.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
After three days He rose from the grave, just as He said He would, and brought The Father glory.
Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ John 2:19 (NASB)
A “mainline” drug addict’s life focuses on finding a “fix” to feel normal again.
Our hearts continuously crave a “fix” for our brokenness and eternal separation from God – a fix to feel normal again. No matter how hard we try to fill that craving ourselves, God is the only one who can give us that “fix” we are looking for by the filling of the Holy Spirit.
God sent a permanent “fix” to heal our brokenness on the cross.
Jesus knew there was joy ahead. He endured the temporary pain for God’s eternal promise.
God will use your pain to provide you with a platform for His purposes.
When we turn our eyes from the world and “fix” our eyes on Him, He fills our hearts with love and joy and labels the last chapter of our story… hope.
Heavenly Father, You gave it all for me. I praise You. I praise you for fixing my brokenness by way of the cross to make me One with You again. I praise you for letting me “fix” my pain and problems to the cross. I praise You for the blood of Jesus which fills the wounds within the broken places of my heart. You help me to shift my focus from self to Savior. May I keep my eyes fixed on you. For the joy to come you endured, so can I. You knew Your story was not finished on the cross, just as my story is not finished today. Thank You for turning my pain to Your platform for Your purpose. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen
Reflect & Respond:
What consumes your mind? Are you “fixed” on something else besides God?
Do you realize that you are not alone? God knows the struggles you are going through. He felt them, too.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)
I’m praying for “Hope” to be the last chapter title of your story,
As little girls, we long for affirmation and attention. We dress up in fancy dresses and twirl. “You are beautiful, you are worth pursuing, you are worthy of being loved.”
As little boys, we challenge each other and wrestle and race, longing for the thrill of victory. We want to be noticed and affirmed. “You are the champion, you are strong, you are brave, you are admirable, you are worthy of respect.”
As adults, we still have those desires. They run deep within our veins. But who is it we are really trying to please? To prove ourselves to? Whose attention are we really seeking?
I believe it is God. Deep down, we need to be valued. We need to know we matter. God has been speaking to me through the Bible and through books I’ve been reading recently. He sees you. He sees me. He loves us. We love Him because He loved us first. If we are looking for Him, for His approval, and hoping He’ll take notice? We’ll find Him.
You have a purpose. You DO matter. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.“
What brings us true happiness? Doing what we were designed to do. For an introvert, that will look very different than for an extrovert. When God made you, He chose the time period, the country, and all the people you would meet and affect. He was intentional in His creation of you from the moment of conception.
Ephesians chapter two spells out God’s reason for creating you. “So that He can show the incomparable riches of His grace.” He created you and me to be an extension of Him and His grace.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)
It is our human nature to do good and call attention to it. “Pay it forward” is a frequent way to boast about our good with a hint at good intentions. Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45 that if you desire to be great, you must become a servant.
Have you ever tried to do things without taking credit for them? It’s more difficult than you would suppose. Still, it is when others call attention to your good deeds that people are moved.
You will find more satisfaction for your unsung deeds than the ones you post about.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
He is leading me to pursue being a nobody on earth. To celebrate my smallness. To work for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23) To bring honor and glory to His name. For over 2,000 years, the name of Jesus Christ has continued to be known. That is the name that I want to honor and praise and bring attention to. Even if CNN and Fox News never know my name, He does. He spoke me into being. And my name is in His book of life. I don’t have to try so hard if I’m just trying to please Him. He will lead me right where I am designed to fit, and I will find joy. And so will you!
Here’s a song from Francesca Battistelli to encourage you. He knows Your name. 🙂 (Here’s the link if you’re reading in the email. https://youtu.be/ZtlDVleJBtA )
Today I came face to face with the invisible wall that holds me back from true surrender to God.
That wall. I’ve felt it for a while now. No matter how much I learn or grow in my relationship with Christ, I still feel the wall’s presence. It keeps me from ever truly overcoming. It keeps me bound by anxiety. I find even in the midst of serving Him in ways I never have before, I can still feel the weight and pressure of the wall. Victories, though worthy of praise, are only partial, as I’ve never been able to fully scale the wall.
I recently began co-leading a small group in my women’s bible study. That sentence alone speaks volumes as to how God has moved in the heart of and life of this social-anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, introverted, non-risk-taking, confrontation-fearing, timid Daughter. Victory has been achieved in that I am able to push through the anxiety of leading and speaking, able to push through the fear of what others are secretly thinking about me. I am free enough to push through and serve.
But is partial freedom the only freedom I’ll ever know?
The wall that fifteen minutes ago, I prayed about. As I read Jennie Allen’s book, Anything, in preparation for this week’s bible study meeting, I prayed:
God, I know I’m on the cusp of full surrender. I don’t think my heart is fully ready to sincerely say, ‘God, I’ll do anything for you.’ I’m still so held back and bound by something. I feel like I’m teeter-tottering on top of the wall that keeps me running full-speed to You. What is holding me back? What can I not let go of?
Then I continued reading. Jennie (in her book) told me that the thing I most fear is the thing that is most controlling in my life. She asked me: What are you most afraid of losing?
I stopped and I thought because I wanted to answer it right and honestly.
The thing I fear the most is losing everyone I love around me…having no support system…being alone.
Jennie told me to stare it in the face, to picture my life alone. I did, and I cried. It hurt and it scared me.
Snot and tears pouring down my face, and heart beating through my chest, I was finally able to identify THE WALL. The wall keeping me from full surrender:
God isn’t real enough to me for me to have true comfort.
I don’t fully believe that I am never alone. I don’t know how to feel His Presence. My relationship with Him isn’t real enough to me.
I have been His for 27 years, but today I asked him to become REAL to my beating heart. To become real to the heart he’s inhabited for so long. How many of us live with someone for decades and never put the effort in to really getting to know them?
This life isn’t about having a safe routine,doing the same thing every day. It’s not about desiring a baby and asking my genie God to make all my dreams come true.
This life is about knowing God.
Who is He? Is He truly my first & foremost, my all-in-all? Who am I in His eyes?
This life is about experiencing God.
Playing it safe has kept me from needing to see God come through for me. I am learning that it is through risk that God becomes more real.
In order to demolish the wall, I will take more risks. I will intentionally put myself in situations where His Power alone will carry me through. When I recognize fear and anxiety creeping in, feeding me with doubt, I will recognize that as a cue from God, telling me to do it anyway.
He and I are in this together. This relationship. I’ve always been pursued. It’s time for me to scale the wall and run fast and full of freedom, in pursuit of Him.
July 31st, 2014 was a day to celebrate! It was my husband’s birthday. We had gone out to celebrate with our whole family. All the girls in our family were also planning and preparing to go to the Coast the next day to celebrate my Grandma’s 80th birthday! We were making more summer plans to go camping and enjoying the summer life that so many love here in Bend. But that never happened.
That night we had relatives staying with us and I had said good night to them. I fell asleep snuggling next to my husband, Sonny, and my seven year old daughter, Rhynn. At about 1:00am Sonny was awakened by a loud thump. He felt Rhynn next to him but couldn’t feel me. When he got up to try to see what had caused the thump he saw me slumped over, wedged between the bed and the dresser, and I was having a Grand mal seizure. He immediately noticed I wasn’t breathing. He ran to get my Aunt and Uncle and asked them for help. They thought maybe a tree had fallen because of how loud the thump was. They called 911.
The paramedics showed up and rushed me to the hospital (Rhynn never woke up in the midst of all of this. I believe an Angel was in the room protecting her). My sister followed close behind. I don’t really remember much of this. I just remember being scared and confused. I was paralyzed on the left side immediately. I couldn’t move my arm or my leg and half of my face was paralyzed. I do remember, however, having an MRI and then being told I had tumors in my brain. I had Melanoma for the second time in my life.
Over the next four days of my stay in the ICU it was a blur from the drugs I was on. I went home and waited for the swelling to go down so they could do surgery. What I thought was one night was actually four nights before they could perform surgery on me. In those four days, friends and family came in and out of my house, one after another, encouraging me, praying for me, loving me and my family.
My diagnosis was three to six months to live, three months with no treatment and six months with aggressive treatment. The Doctors didn’t think they’d be able to remove all three tumors (I didn’t know this at the time). Two nights before surgery my long time friends, Joe and Katherine, came to my house to pray over me. Immediately afterwards I lifted my left arm up, something I had not been able to do, then I got up and started walking. My brother-in-law later commented he wouldn’t have believed it had he not seen it with his own eyes! That was one of the many miracles that I’ve experienced since then.
The night before surgery we had about 100 friends and family come over to pray over me, sing worship songs and they took turns telling me how much they loved me. Afterwards Sonny made a video of me for my kids. I wanted my kids to hear what I thought was most important, in case I didn’t make it through the surgery. I told them I loved them, that Jesus loves them. I told them through many, many tears how much I love them, that when we belong to Jesus He will pursue you and that they always belong to Him. I said the things I never thought I’d have to say to my kids for them to watch when I was gone.
When I went to bed that night my son, Randon, who was 18 at the time, came into my room and told me he didn’t want me to do treatment because he didn’t want me to be sick the last three to six months of my life. That was the first time I had heard that diagnosis. I was shocked and confused. We cried together, talked about how it would be one day at a time, fighting all the way. I told him I needed him to pray for me and believe that God would heal me.
My pastor, Steve, came the next morning before surgery to pray for me. I don’t remember it but I’m so thankful for him and the church family that we love so much. They have been such a big part of my journey with their generosity. I was told the entire waiting room was filled with our church family and family members, standing room only. The Doctors ended up removing all three tumors! I stayed in the hospital for about a month, or maybe longer. I don’t remember exactly how long. I don’t remember a lot of it. It was still being said that I would probably only live for six months with aggressive treatment. There is no treatment for Melanoma cancer. Today it’s been over a year since my surgery. They were wrong. God is good. I have continued to say “You’re talking Science, I’m talking God. My God is bigger than Science”.
Joy and her husband, Sonny, live in Bend Oregon with
their four children ranging from six to twenty-one years of age. You can learn more about Joy’s journey through her blog where she inspires many with her transparency, strength, and hope in Christ.
She and her family repeat a daily mantra together:
“I am powerful and what I believe changes the world! So today I declare: God is in a good mood. He loves me all the time. Nothing can separate me from His love. Jesus’ blood paid for everything. I will tell nations of what He has done. I am important. How He made me is amazing. I was designed for worship. My mouth establishes praise to silence the enemy. Everywhere I go becomes a perfect health zone. And with God…Nothing is impossible.”